Thursday, August 22, 2013

Pretty Doris Simeon Opens Up On Career,Marriage & Her Plans For The Future

 She spoke about her career, her past marriage and what the future holds for her in a recent interview.
What have you been up to lately?

I’ve been doing a lot of things as well as a lot of researches to start up some other things from acting like I’m used to. As a result of that, I’ve successfully done a TV talk show and hopefully, I’m praying to make headway with that. I’m actually opening up to my fans that I can do more than act, like presentation and show host. Basically, that is what I’ve been up to lately.
But has that got you off the scene?

Well, no, it hasn’t stopped me from acting but I would only do that when I’m called or I get a script.

You have successfully produced three (3) movies namely Onitemi, Omo Iya Kan, Asiri, are you working on another movie or you want to put a stop to it?

I’m actually working on two movies come next year and hopefully, I’m praying it becomes a hit like the rest have been or even better. I’m working seriously on all that this year and that is why I haven’t really worked on anything this year or even started production. I want to make proper arrangements before going into the making of the films.

Quickly taking you back to the awards you have won recently, what were the criteria for these awards?

I actually got two awards from the United States of America this year from the people of my hometown, Okpella in Edo State. The award was to appreciate my effort as one of their illustrious daughters in the movie industry and also another one in Nigeria from Eldorado entertainment in honour of my achievements in the industry. Before I went to America, early this year, I got an award from ZAFAA as the best actress in Yoruba movie. It’s been great but to me, awards are like challenges for you to work harder and compete more with people that are fresh and are willing to do better than you.

How has Nollywood been now compared to when you started off?

It hasn’t been easy oh! I started way back, almost 12years now and I thank God for the achievement so far. It’s not by power or might because some people have been here for several years and haven’t achieved one single thing to the credit of what they have been doing. But I thank God that 12 years ago when I started I never knew it would be this big, I remember when I started then, I wanted people to know my name not the face but I have remained in the faces of people. However, I have been able to produce and have my name attached to a flick, I’m also working on producing TV shows. In short, I thank God because starting and getting to this height is by His grace. Before now, there was nothing like all this gadgets and now, I still wonder how we used to get across to each other to come to location or for a job unlike now that you get pings or calls telling you when you should come on set. But then you either get a letter or go to a business centre to receive calls and all that but now technology has made it more easier but I think we still need more improvement and finance from corporate bodies to make our entertainment industry more attractive and encourage our effort because it’s sad to see colleagues in the industry for several decades and they can’t even afford to get a 3 square meal and I feel we should get stronger in unity so that people can come around help the industry to grow bigger than it is.

How actually did it all begin for you?

Funny enough, I didn’t join the drama group while in school but I play a lot with my friends and family members, who always tease me to join a drama group. It was actually my pastor’s son at The Apostolic church that told me about Papa Ajasco’s auditioning and the first time, he told me about it, I couldn’t make it and the second time, I went for my aunt’s wedding and I was planning to rush down to Charity busstop and I crossed the express, so I was about completing the cross when a guy tried cautioning me but I thought he wanted to toast me, so I ignored him and I just got into the hands of the law enforcement agency, so I missed the audition. At the third audition, I thought to myself that it wasn’t worth it but reluctantly, I went there with the hope of meeting stars and I was asked to do something and I did to the best of my knowledge and that was it. I remembered I feared meeting Antar Laniyan because I’ve heard that he was strict and I was afraid not to fail and get bashed but it was Wale Adenuga that auditioned me myself and that was it. It was on the set of Papa Ajasco that I met the late Yomi Ogunmola, who was the director and it was Yomi Ogunmola that introduced me to Yoruba movies and got my first role in the movie, Ten Million Naira.

Some believe your face and skin colour has helped you rise in the movie industry while others feel your talent is what actually sold you. Which would you agree sold you?

I would actually say it’s the talent not the face because the face might also add to the credit but it’s the talent that has actually kept me in there because the industry is growing and if you think it’s your fine face, another beautiful person would come and dethrone you, so your talent would sell you. Your talent matters even if you are beautiful because I know that it’s not every producer that wants to sleep with a girl because of role, some want to sell their products and would go for only the best. I think it’s basically the talent. I’m the first to act in my family.

As a beautiful young lady at that time and now, how often do you get producers or directors coming after you for relationship or sex?

It happens but it all depends on how you present and carry yourself as well as how you take your job. Some people are desperate and they would do anything just to get whatever role they want but I’m not the desperate type, so, I believe so much in my talent and God. I’m one of those that believe that whatever is mine would always come to me and whatever is not mine won’t come to me.

Have you had occasions like that?

Well to me it’s like asking me for something and if I can’t offer it or don’twant to offer it, I simply say no. no one would force you, you would always be asked to see how desperate you are and if you say no, no one would force you. No one would rape you if you refuse it, so it’s about your mindset and how you present yourself.

But you used to be married to a director cum producer, was that how you met him?

Funny enough, when I met him, I just came back from a job and I was called up by the location manager and I didn’t want to do the job but she was on my neck and wanted me to do the job for the producer and because she told me that majority of the crew are from the English movies, I decided to do it because I’ve heard a lot about these people been arrogant and all that. I wanted to see how they were but unfortunately, every member of the crew irrespective of their native tongue were so friendly that I kept wondering where the perceived arrogance went. They were so accommodating and that changed my perception about a lot of these colleagues. So, it was on that set that I met him because he was the producer and director of the movie which was Omo Jaiye Jaiye. He would walk up to me and greet me and he was always friendly like others and on that location, we all didn’t want to go and we became friends.

And from friends?

From friends to lovers, marriage and baby!

But didn’t you feel he wanted to take advantage of the fact that he was the producer and director?

No, I didn’t feel that way because we all on the set were so close. The only thing that happened was that we had a general discussion and we joked that handsome guys are players but he defended handsome guys and we just chatted normally and that was just it. It was more like a mutual thing.

So, what happened to the relationship that produced a kid?

Well, I wouldn’t want to discuss that with the public because like you know the future of an individual, who happens to be our son is involved and nothing is more precious to us than his future.

And what is the relationship between you two?

I still see him as a good friend that I met seven (7) years ago or eight (8) now, a good man and the father of my son, whom I wish well in all his endeavours. Things happen in life when you just move on and when there is life, there is certainly hope and you can make amends for any of your mistakes in life. So, we still remain friends.

Did your parents support you then?

Funny enough, my parents were fully in support of what I chose because while I was growing up, I used to watch TV a lot and I would always love to be on TV as a newscaster or on the radio. Even before the audition, I had their blessings and they just said I should always remember who I am and where I’m coming from. In fact, my dad was my biggest fan, he would always tell people that I’m his daughter and they would even tell me what their friends told them about my choice of career.

Can you remember your first pay as an actress?

I’m not sure but I think I was paid N3,000 per episode for Papa Ajasco and I think I got N21,000 for seven episodes that I did but for the film, I think it was N10,000 or N15,000.

So, now as an established act, how much do you charge per role?

Aaah! I can’t divulge that ooh! It’s not business like (laughs)

So, what is the most ridiculous amount anyone can lobby you with for a role?

Hmm! Don’t tell me you want me to come and act for N50,000 (laughs) when my friends earn N50,000 as salary (laughs) Even now, people think it’s cool to shoot a film for free and I just wonder how we would grow and keep our family if we keep doing jobs free. Recently a friend of mine called me and said she had told a certain producer to request for my services but that the producer said I was just too expensive and I said I prefer it that way because I believe every act, who must have paid his or her dues over time need to enjoy the benefit of what he or she has labored for. If we keep doing it free, then how would the investors come and how are we supposed to cater for our needs and that of our families?